Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Toasts of the President and Prime Minister Chung.

March 14, 1967

Mr. Prime Minister, Mr. Vice President, Members of the Cabinet, Senator Fulbright and Members of the Congress, Governor Hughes, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:

This morning I had the privilege of welcoming you, Mr. Prime Minister, to the United States of America.

Now, it is a very great pleasure to welcome you to my home.

Around us here today you will see many people who know your country well.

And each of them is a friend of Korea. Although I was in your country only a very short time, the visit last fall was one of the most memorable and the most heartwarming that I have ever known.

Mrs. Johnson and I shall never forget-and everyone with us will remember the warmth, the spontaneity, the hospitality of the Korean people. I can still hear the rustling of countless small flags--Korean and American--that welcomed us in Seoul. I can still see those schoolboy posters all along your streets and the open friendliness in the faces of those who held them.

We knew, of course, that your country was called the "Land of the Morning Calm." And we found it to be so--in the early morning, when the mists are rising over the rivers.

But it is not long before the air is filled with the sounds of men building and planting and producing, of little children reciting their lessons in the school, of the whole countryside coming awake and work being done.

I was struck by the evidence of economic growth and vigor that I saw everywhere we looked.

Koreans were working to make a better society--to insure that all of the people shared in the fruits of their economic growth.

So both of us would like to cultivate our gardens in peace.

We would like to make them bloom as they have never bloomed before--to create and to enjoy the blessings of prosperity, to enlarge the possibilities of a dignified and meaningful life.

But in our world even the most remote nations are often barred from cultivating their gardens in peace.

It is a world where peace and freedom and justice are constantly in jeopardy.

It is a world where men, if they will not stand up, may be forced to kneel.

Neither Koreans nor Americans kneel gracefully before conquerors or before aggressors.

It is a world where responsibilities are heavy for those who are willing to shoulder the burden of responsibility.

We carried that burden together--in the defense of South Korea.

We carry it together as we mneet here today--in the defense of South Vietnam.

We shall continue to carry it--until ambitious men recognize that aggression and terror are futile and outdated weapons in relations between peoples and nations.

We shall continue together because, as our great President Harry Truman said more than 15 years ago: "All free nations are exposed and all are in peril. Their only security lies in banding together. No one nation can find protection in a selfish search for a safe haven from the storm."

In going to the assistance of others--as our Korean friends know so well--America does not seek to dominate or control.

We do not seek national grandeur or special privilege.

What we seek--in cooperation with like-minded nations like Korea--is the basis for a lasting peace--a peace with justice.

Not the peace of the grave, but the peace of life--where men are free and able to shape their own future.

Today, together, we fight. But even as we do, we work together in a multitude of ways to improve the quality of the life of our own people and the life of others in the world.

And when real peace comes--as it will come--I know we shall continue to work-together and with others--to better the world we have inherited and helped to preserve.

Mr. Prime Minister, we are delighted that you are with us in our country today.

In the spirit of our deep friendship and admiration for a very brave people, I ask all of those who have come here today to join me in a toast:

To His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Korea--and to the continued prosperity and freedom of the Korean people.

Note: The President proposed the toast at 2:22 p.m. at a luncheon in the State Dining Room at the White House. In his opening words he referred to Prime Minister II Kwon Chung, Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, Senator J. W. Fulbright of Arkansas, and Governor Richard J. Hughes of New Jersey. The Prime Minister responded as follows:

Mr. President, Mr. Vice President, ladies and gentlemen:

I wish to extend my heartfelt gratitude to you for your warm address and for this wonderful luncheon for me and my party.

After 4 years, I am indeed happy to visit this country once again.

I was moved by the marvelous aerial view of this great city, which has become more beautiful and splendid than I remembered. Here again as I find myself in this amicable and congenial company of old friends, I am at a loss for adequate words to express my deep emotion.

Mr. President, as I stand here, I have a vivid memory of the cheers of millions of people on the streets of Seoul who, with flags in their hands, welcomed you to Korea last autumn.

I am sure that you personally felt then the admiration and appreciation of the Korean people. As a great leader, you have the mission of protecting freedom. You are armed with unfailing courage and a strong belief in justice. These are qualities we Koreans know are needed at this critical time in history.

Mr. President and distinguished guests, as President Park has stated before, we have been trying very hard to be a nation which stands by its friends and repays its obligations. We know well that real gratitude is more properly expressed by deeds rather than by words.

I am very proud to declare that the sacrifices and efforts made by American people in Korea have not been wasted.

Mr. President, you stated in Seoul that self-esteem gives to a people confidence--a strong confidence--without which a people can accomplish little, and with which they can surmount any obstacles.

Today, we are full of this confidence, my people are overcoming all difficulties and marching toward a hopeful tomorrow.

During the past several years, under the inspiring leadership of President Park, we Korean people have achieved political stability and economic progress.

According to 1966 statistics of our economic growth, the per capita income reached $123; the total amount of exports, $250 million; and the foreign reserves, close to $230 million.

I know well that these figures are not so big as to surprise any one of you. Nevertheless, these figures are really encouraging to us, because, comparing them with those of 5 years ago, you will discover that some of them have almost doubled and still others have increased almost 10 times.

Mr. President and distinguished guests, the Korean people, who in the past were negative and resistant, have now become one of the free nations in the world, pursuing a course of affirmation and positive contribution. In other words, today we ask ourselves what we can do as an ally of the United States, and what we can do as a free nation in Asia. At the same time, we ask what we can contribute to the freedom and peace of all mankind.

We are growing today. We sent our troops to the Republic of Vietnam, normalized our relations with Japan, and hosted the Ministerial Meeting for Asian and Pacific Cooperation.

We participated in the Manila Summit Conference and took part in the establishment of the Asian Development Bank. These are some of the tangible results recently achieved through the strength and confidence of the people of Korea.

Mr. President, today, the Asian countries, including Korea, are facing, as President Franklin Roosevelt pointed out in his statement of four freedoms, the tasks of achieving freedom from fear and freedom from want.

We have learned that freedom in the 20th century can only be obtained through cooperation among peoples.

Your address delivered at Johns Hopkins University is a most important and historical declaration, clarifying the goals of the United States in Asia.

Particularly, your grand designs for everlasting peace and promotion of the well-being of the suffering peoples in Asia and firm attitude against injustice and fear have brought to the Asian people new hope and new courage inspiring them with a sense of purpose.

Today, the Korean people admire you as a defender of freedom and peace and as an architect of the happiness of mankind.

Also, on this occasion, I wish to express my profound respect and appreciation to the American people. Their contributions since the Second World War helped bring freedom to Korea and other nations in Asia.

Mr. President, we Korean people have developed into a trusted nation of the free Asia. We share our joys and sorrows with the American people who have always been with us not only in the darkness of despair but also in the bright morning of hope.

Finally, I express once again my heartfelt gratitude to you and my sincere hope for your continued friendship and assistance.

Distinguished gentlemen, may I ask you to join me in a toast to the magnificent contribution of President Johnson to mankind, to the health of President and Mrs. Johnson, and to the everlasting prosperity and happiness of the American people.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Toasts of the President and Prime Minister Chung. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/237976

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